Which Combat Role is the least represented in PFS? Hammer, Anvil or Arm?


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Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

...and, I have seen nominally-roleplaying games where the characters function only as gamepieces with allowed moves, not as characters with individuality.

I mean, hell, if we go back to the beginnings of our hobby, it grew out from a wargame, where they literally were gamepieces, and started to take on bits of character.

There's nothing wrong with wargames where the characters are pure gamepieces. They can be a lot of fun. It's just that Pathfinder can also be so much more, and something is lost if you don't enjoy the rest of it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

N N 959 wrote:
I blame most of this on the scorn and ostracism people direct at anything that smells like "meta-gaming" e.g. talking OOC tactics. Another chunk of the blame results from the lack of an in-game rules for character vs character knowledge. Does my barbarian know you can cast Bull Strength and why he should Delay so you can cast it? Do I know your Swashbuckler or Gunslinger benefits from getting the npc kill and is it meta-game for me to Delay so that you can attack first?

One time, my party expected possible trouble in a building we had not yet entered. The druid turned into an earth elemental for the earth glide ability. The wizard made said druid invisible. Then my eldritch knight cast telepathy on the party. The druid then invisibly scouts the entire building while silently reporting everything to the party. She returns, and we put up some very specific buffs that dramatically affect the outcome of the encounter.

At a later date, I relayed this story to a table during post-game chatter about the effectiveness of preparation. The GM's response to the tale was to make a scoffing sound, roll his eyes, and say, "And people wonder why GMs get so fed up."

So yeah, I get your point about the anti-tactics culture that can crop up sometimes.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

That sounds awesome to me. That wasn't metagaming at all; that was a clear and clean approach from a group that was planning ahead.

I'm sad as GM when characters blunder in and just are so overpowered that it doesn't matter if they think ahead or not when they face the monsters. When they don't have to think in order to completely stomp everything. That makes me a little sad.

On the other hand, when they plan ahead, do scouting, come up with a good plan, and pwn, then I think it's awesome. Especially if there is some good roleplaying and character interaction in all the planning. (My home Reign of Winter game had a good bit like that in the last session.)


rknop wrote:
...and, I have seen nominally-roleplaying games where the characters function only as gamepieces with allowed moves, not as characters with individuality.

Well, I can call a banana a quasar, but that doesn't really make it a quasar..

:)

The point is the game doesn't work without some level characters acting like people. It can totally function without tactical combat and for some, be quite enjoyable.

I prefer a game with tactical combat.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

Bananas are radioactive... :)


Jiggy wrote:

At a later date, I relayed this story to a table during post-game chatter about the effectiveness of preparation. The GM's response to the tale was to make a scoffing sound, roll his eyes, and say, "And people wonder why GMs get so fed up."

So yeah, I get your point about the anti-tactics culture that can crop up sometimes.

Sadly, I see more resistance from players than from GMs. There's this cultivated hyper-sensitivity to "not play someone else's character".

There's a sizable portion of semi-experienced players who struggle with taking any combat advice/guidance. Part of that is people who want to RP their character doing what they want to do and not what they need to do.

Fortunately for me, the people I play with all are emotionally attached to their characters, so when the battle starts going south, people are usually willing to talk OOC. I imagine there are players who have so many characters that they have little compunction about dying in a way that they feel is epic or satisfactory.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

N N 959 wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
No, it really isn't. Even dungeon crawls compel characters to act according to their nature.
Roleplaying your bishop moving diagonal does not make chess a roleplaying game.
Disanology. You play chess with pieces, not characters.

Doesn't matter. Moving your character is not roleplaying. If you treat them as chess pieces, you're not roleplaying. And you can certainly do that.


Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
No, it really isn't. Even dungeon crawls compel characters to act according to their nature.
Roleplaying your bishop moving diagonal does not make chess a roleplaying game.
Disanology. You play chess with pieces, not characters.
Doesn't matter. Moving your character is not roleplaying. If you treat them as chess pieces, you're not roleplaying. And you can certainly do that.

Your character, by definition, is making a decision on where, what, how, when. That is roleplaying

A chess piece, by definition, does not make these decision because it is not a "character."

Pretending one is the other is simply that.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

N N 959 wrote:
Your character, by definition, is making a decision on where, what, how, when. That is roleplaying

Some people don't even do that. It's THEM making the decision, not the character. I have seen it happen.

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/55/55/5 Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

I'm a newcomer here. I found the article very helpful as a way of analyzing combat roles. Is there more to PFS than combat? Sure. But there are tons of times when everything you meet seems bent on attacking your party no matter what you do.

What I like best about the article is the emphasis on playing a team, and how a team works. Understanding combat roles can really help.

Do you need skills and out of combat roles? Sure. Knowledges are important. So is having not only a main combat role, but a backup one that you can fall back upon.

I say, play what interests you. However, the one time I saw a character death happened at a low level table with no dedicated hammers. It might be a good idea to have 2 characters and change which one you bring to a scenario depending on who else you see at the table.

Hmm

The Exchange 5/5

when trying to decide what type character to create... are you limited to just one?

I mean, you list three types - so why not just create all three and just play the one that the party seems to need at the start ot the game?

That way, whatever type your local group is short at the moment, is exactly what type you have ready to go?


Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Your character, by definition, is making a decision on where, what, how, when. That is roleplaying
Some people don't even do that. It's THEM making the decision, not the character. I have seen it happen.

I've done it, even. I love my roleplaying for sure, and do plenty in home games, but in a PFS scenario it's not uncommon to get in a situation where people don't particularly care about your character's long and intricate backstory and it's much easier for everyone involved to just move your characters around on the playmat like chess pieces on a board.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
N N 959 wrote:
There's a sizable portion of semi-experienced players who struggle with taking any combat advice/guidance. Part of that is people who want to RP their character doing what they want to do and not what they need to do.

Yeah, but on the other side of the coin, I have seen the people who are too aggressive in telling other people what they should do. A little of that is fine, but it can easily go way too far. The know-it-all at the table who tells everybody else (or even just one or two other people) what to do at every turn gets very annoying. As such, I can kind of see where the people are coming from who bristle when others start to offer advice.

Going too far in either direction doesn't make sense. But, it's good to remember both extremes, as it might help you understand somebody else's reaction. If people are resisting suggestion, it may be because they are too bull-headed to take advice, but it may also be because they've been bullied before by people who couldn't stop telling everybody else what to do.


rknop wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
There's a sizable portion of semi-experienced players who struggle with taking any combat advice/guidance. Part of that is people who want to RP their character doing what they want to do and not what they need to do.
Yeah, but on the other side of the coin, I have seen the people who are too aggressive in telling other people what they should do.

I haven't seen bullying as either a player or GM, but you've GM'd a lot more games than I have. As a player in the F2F games, I see more apathy about what anyone else is doing.

You know, as a GM, I've often wanted to suggest the group select a team leader to speed things up in PbP. What's funny is that I recall in AD&D this was highly recommended. But in PFS, I feel this is totally discouraged and it's because of the, "don't tell me how to play my character" ethos that is so strong in the PFS community.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

I have definitely seen people too aggressive in the wanting to give advice. So advice is essentially a tough call to make, there is a place for it, but you need to respect your fellow players.
I also always remember that my characters do want to live, and are presumably trained in how to deal with combat in some fashion. I think none of them have a particular desire to essentially go down a chute into a kill box that the enemies want them to. I mean in some instances it can become almost metagaming to increase difficulty.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

I haven't seen it a lot, but I have seen it. Most groups actually seem to get along reasonably well. Often somebody sort of organically emerges as a leader.

5/5

I am not anti tactics at all... I came in to roleplaying in Mechwarrior, as a branch in from the tabletop tactics game Battletech. I have and continue to play many tactically diverse games in addition to pathfinder, but I have 2 problems with the Forge of Combat article and similar efforts to distill tactics to a simple 3 pronged discussion.

1. When taken to extremes, it can and will replace roleplaying and damage a community.

2. It is too simplified to be of value. It encourages people to think "in their roles" and doesn't allow creative flexibility. It is the same mentality that plagues MMOs with the Trinity system (DPS, Heals, and Tanking.) Combat can, and even is in many rpgs more flexibile than is being shown. IE if I am playing a "Hammer", I can still help the team in some situations more by tying down flankers than hammering on 1 guy, or with a reach weapon (assuming a martial hammer) controlling an area via AoO. I find that these kinds of articles teach players, rather than how to be flexible, to focus on their intended role. That can be very detrimental to the table, and to the campaign.

PS;
The OP makes part of my point by refering to it as a guide and implying that it is very useful for new PFS members. I for one hope that new members learn from the tables that they play and experiences they have, than from a one size fits all guide to tactics.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

ToshiroKurita wrote:

I am not anti tactics at all... I came in to roleplaying in Mechwarrior, as a branch in from the tabletop tactics game Battletech. I have and continue to play many tactically diverse games in addition to pathfinder, but I have 2 problems with the Forge of Combat article and similar efforts to distill tactics to a simple 3 pronged discussion.

1. When taken to extremes, it can and will replace roleplaying and damage a community.

If the damage happens when X is taken to extremes, the problem is with people taking things to extremes; the problem is not with X.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Jiggy wrote:
ToshiroKurita wrote:

I am not anti tactics at all... I came in to roleplaying in Mechwarrior, as a branch in from the tabletop tactics game Battletech. I have and continue to play many tactically diverse games in addition to pathfinder, but I have 2 problems with the Forge of Combat article and similar efforts to distill tactics to a simple 3 pronged discussion.

1. When taken to extremes, it can and will replace roleplaying and damage a community.

If the damage happens when X is taken to extremes, the problem is with people taking things to extremes; the problem is not with X.

Not even that, its doing X instead of role playing, rather than in addition to it. Yes, combat does represent a chance to role play and show off your characters attitude, but the witty combat banter it a lot more overt and there's still the rest of the time you're not in combat to role play even if you're min maxed to the pun pun.


Hmm... Ok, in my area. Rough guestimates.

Low level (1-3) with lots of new players - probably 8 of 10 PC's are dedicated focused hammers that can't do anything except deal damage.

Mid level (4-6) Probably 5 of 10 are hammer and 4 of 10 are anvil.

High level (7+) Probably 3 of 10 are hammer and 5 of 10 are arm.

We've had a couple of high level tables where everyone was buffing everyone else trying to get someone who could actually go do some damage. It was really kinda comical.

I try to make it so any of my characters are pretty good at one role and at least competent at another role. And hopefully not completely helpless at the third.
For example:
My sorcerer has a highest level summon monster and burning hands for Hammer work, has a few debuff spells and summon monster for Anvil time, and has several very good buff spells for Arm needs. If you ask me what he is, "He usually functions as an Arm and can reliably fill in as Anvil. But if desperate, he can Hammer."
My kensai magus whip tripper mostly trips (or disarms) anything he wants and has a few debuff effects. So he is clearly an Anvil. As a magus he can spell combat and spell strike to do damage as a Hammer even if not as good at it as the common shocking grasp monkey. He can prep a few buff spells for Arm if really needed, but that is unusual for him.
Etc...

The PC's that I see the most issues with are the really super focused ones. Imagine a guy has built his PC as the ultimate earthbreaker wielding whack-a-mole champion, but can't do anything else. Well when investigating, social interaction, tracking, climbing, swimming, sneaking, etc... he is sitting there with nothing to do and probably getting frustrated. So at best he does nothing except try to stay out of the way. More likely he tries to start a fight since that is what he is good at but it makes things harder for everyone else.
PFS does not require that supreme level of specialization for effectiveness. If a player does it anyway, they seem frustrated a fair amount of the time when their specialty doesn't apply. So they often try to make it apply. Square peg - round hole.

The role I see consistently represented the least is non-combat interpersonal and/or knowledge skills. (It is a bit less of a problem at high level tables, but I have also seen it there.) Several times I've been at a table where no one (me included) had better than a +2 at any social skill and no one could make any of the needed trained only knowledge checks. It was very frustrating.

Takhisis wrote:
... Knowing PFS is mostly combat focus ...

I would say this is only true if the players make it so. Most of the scenarios can be brute force smashed through. However, they don't need to be done that way. Most/many of them have one or more encounters that can be talked through, reasoned away, snuck past, etc... I have several of them become extremely easy as a result of having a good diplomat and or sneaky/clever players at the table. you usually can't wiggle your way out of the last fight, but if no one has taken any damage, used any resources, and/or has tactical surprise it is pretty certain to succeed without too much trouble.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

Yeah, there does tend to be one "Sweet talk past" Though admittedly some of my lower charisma characters its "How much money does he owe you? HERE go home." Seriously some of these guys are getting strong armed for ridiculously tiny sums in the grand scheme of things.

Silver Crusade

GM Lamplighter wrote:

Jiggy, you and I should meet at a con sometimes, we always seem to boggle each other's minds when I don't think we're that far apart on many issues. :)

As the founder of my local Lodge and its V-C for the first three years, I have seen my share of divisive issues, both at the table and away from it. I can tell you, in my experience the only truly divisive issue which has come up is when 3/4 of the group doesn't want to play with or GM for player (or GM) X, because they try to "win" Pathfinder. That is bad for the community, and it is a direct consequence of focused combat optimization. So this is a warning well worth bringing up time and time again when focus on combat is brought up time and time again.

We have many, many more problems that that. You are very lucky.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I blame most of this on the scorn and ostracism people direct at anything that smells like "meta-gaming" e.g. talking OOC tactics. Another chunk of the blame results from the lack of an in-game rules for character vs character knowledge. Does my barbarian know you can cast Bull Strength and why he should Delay so you can cast it? Do I know your Swashbuckler or Gunslinger benefits from getting the npc kill and is it meta-game for me to Delay so that you can attack first?

One time, my party expected possible trouble in a building we had not yet entered. The druid turned into an earth elemental for the earth glide ability. The wizard made said druid invisible. Then my eldritch knight cast telepathy on the party. The druid then invisibly scouts the entire building while silently reporting everything to the party. She returns, and we put up some very specific buffs that dramatically affect the outcome of the encounter.

At a later date, I relayed this story to a table during post-game chatter about the effectiveness of preparation. The GM's response to the tale was to make a scoffing sound, roll his eyes, and say, "And people wonder why GMs get so fed up."

So yeah, I get your point about the anti-tactics culture that can crop up sometimes.

Why does the GM care? They didn't write the scenario. They are still getting their table credit.


ToshiroKurita wrote:

I am not anti tactics at all... I came in to roleplaying in Mechwarrior, as a branch in from the tabletop tactics game Battletech. I have and continue to play many tactically diverse games in addition to pathfinder, but I have 2 problems with the Forge of Combat article and similar efforts to distill tactics to a simple 3 pronged discussion.

1. When taken to extremes, it can and will replace roleplaying and damage a community.

2. It is too simplified to be of value. It encourages people to think "in their roles" and doesn't allow creative flexibility. It is the same mentality that plagues MMOs with the Trinity system (DPS, Heals, and Tanking.) Combat can, and even is in many rpgs more flexibile than is being shown. IE if I am playing a "Hammer", I can still help the team in some situations more by tying down flankers than hammering on 1 guy, or with a reach weapon (assuming a martial hammer) controlling an area via AoO. I find that these kinds of articles teach players, rather than how to be flexible, to focus on their intended role. That can be very detrimental to the table, and to the campaign.

PS;
The OP makes part of my point by refering to it as a guide and implying that it is very useful for new PFS members. I for one hope that new members learn from the tables that they play and experiences they have, than from a one size fits all guide to tactics.

Disagree to a certain extent. Yes, if you just skim the article and then focus on only one thing, it might make you even worse. But the article specifically talks about often needing secondary capabilities and sometimes switching roles. How the different types of roles work together to make everyone more effective.

Very often new players (and even some of the experienced players) make characters to try and be equally good at everything or only good at one thing. The first can't do much of anything. The second has a specialty that often doesn't apply to the specific situation.
If you actually read and try to learn from the article in its entirety, almost every one seems to get more effective and help the group as a whole.
I passed it out to my home group several months ago. Even though most of them have been playing RPG's for years and PF for well over a year, they were still having difficulty with APL encounters. People charged into the blasters fire lane, charged away from the guy that wanted to buff them, spread out their attacks, tried to heal the first tiny bit of damage, buffed/debuffed at the end of a fight instead of the beginning, etc... Because that sort of unplanned chaotic bedlam is all they had ever seen.

They read the article and have given some thought and discussion on what they are trying to do for each other. They still make some mistakes and are having the most difficulty getting the hang of the anvil role. But last night they just took on an APL+5 encounter and didn't quite lose any PC's or allied NPC's.

Yes, if you are already a tactical expert, the Forge of Combat probably doesn't have a lot for you and will seem a confining. But then it wasn't really intended for you.
If you are teaching a teenager to drive to you just throw him the keys to a tractor-trailer rig or Ferrari and say to learn from what the others are doing? I certainly hope not. You drive with them in something like a Taurus and only let them on the back country roads for a while until they get the hang of that part. Then you gradually introduce them to traffic, longer trips, higher speed limits, driving at night, different vehicles, etc...
The Forge of Combat get them started on tactical roles and planning. Later they can learn the advanced stuff.

Liberty's Edge

In our area, I see a majority of Hammer's at all levels. Sometimes Arms or Anvils popup at lower levels, but they are then completely outclassed by the hammers abilities to end encounters before they do anything, so they make a hammer. LOTS of Slayers, Barbarians, and Magus Blackblade/Kensai in our area.

A lot of our communities strategy is to simply end the fight before anyone hits negatives. As such, our community is not a whole lot of fun to play with, and very metagamey.

My characters personally almost always have two roles. I learned that long ago. My Cavalier is a wall, if your next to him, you are a tank. He is not a damage dealer by default. If the party is perfectly fine on survivability, then he will wade into combat and kill things very well.

My Kitsune Life Oracle is a walking health battery. 8 Channels per day, 7d6 Positive energy, Channeled Revival, Quick Channel, Combat Healer, Sacred bond, the whole nine yards. She is extremely specialized in making sure people do not die and has taken the party from entirely unconscious to full HP numerous times. Her switch though is when fighting Evil Outsiders. Alignment Channel, Spear of Purity, and Celestial Lantern make for very high Outsider damaging spells and channels.

I always tell folks to pick two of the three roles. That way your never useless.

Also Diplomacy. Always Diplomacy. All day. All night. If I do not have to fight, that's a win for me!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

In my experience, I see more "hammers" in low-level play, I think because new players and casuals gravitate toward the 2H Power Attack build, while the core veteran players with multiple high-level characters tend to diversify their builds more. Those experienced players are also more likely to keep multiple characters they can switch between as well, which means that when they start running "arms" and "anvils," those will frequently get more play and level up faster than "hammers" started at the same time, because they are needed more often for party balance.

5/5

"Lampy" is just fine, Jiggy! :)

Valid points. I do get defensive on this topic, since I'm passionate about it and it seems it is often under siege by the people roleplaying their bishops moving diagonally (what a great thread-tangent that was!) or just making combat characters.

You've inspired me to try and write that hypothetical guide you referred to, though... although to be fair, I'll have to cover combat as well.

5/5

David Bowles wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:
... the only truly divisive issue which has come up is when 3/4 of the group doesn't want to play with or GM for player (or GM) X, because they try to "win" Pathfinder.
We have many, many more problems that that. You are very lucky.

We have many more problems than that, as well - but that is the only one I would call "divisive". When that one player who won't shower or always swears at kids in public needs to be dealt with, it's a problem, but no one is divided by it. (Well, except the one guy, I guess.) Ditto on venue issues, GM training and recruiting, etc. We have had personality clashes, etc. but they tend to sort themselves out as people form their own groups or we open more venues. The conflict between the "all combat" types and the "not-all-combat" types is the only long-term divisive issue we've seen in almost 4 years.


Jiggy wrote:

That's not what I'm talking about, GM Lamplighter. (Man, that's long and unwieldy; can I just call you Lampy or something?)

I think you and I can agree that a certain type of player/GM exists for whom the goal is to be as powerful in combat as possible. They miss (whether accidentally or as a preference/choice) things like skills, exploration, world immersion, and so forth. For the sake of ease of communication, let's give them a name; let's make that name "flooglewhump".

So we both know flooglewhumps exist. We both know that, unless they're very socially conscientious, flooglewhumps can be disruptive to the game.

But what I'm saying you may have lost sight of is that flooglewhumps aren't the only people who can benefit from a discussion of combat tactics, that people who want to make a character who specializes in combat are not automatically flooglewhumps, and so forth.

Despite the OP making the (IMO, erroneous) assertion that PFS is very combat-focused, the premise of this thread is nothing more than "Here's a framework for discussing combat roles; what are people's thoughts?"

That's a topic that has potential benefit for ANY player, yet your reaction seems to be "What? Discussion of combat? Meh, that's just something for those flooglewhumps over there." You don't even have to see someone do something abusive before you sound the flooglewhump alarm; all it takes is "let's discuss combat" and off you go.

What if instead of responding to the topic of combat with "Careful not to be a flooglewhump!", you just responded with good examples of how to build responsibly? The former just drives a wedge into the rift between player types and makes the division worse; the latter creates an attractive community that someone might adjust their playstyle in order to be a part of.

Jiggy, I often but don't always agree with you. But I really liked this post. I've been walking around work today calling people flooglewhumps with a smirk and just getting confused looks in return.


GM Lamplighter wrote:
... The conflict between the "all combat" types and the "not-all-combat" types is the only long-term divisive issue we've seen in almost 4 years.

I guess we're pretty lucky in our local area. that hasn't come up all that often. Mostly the 'all-combat' types are people new to the game. So we see a lot more of that at low levels. And the low level scenarios can be accomplished by all combat. But most of them are occasionally at a table with someone to see some things resolved without combat and start to see it as a possibility to be considered.

So by mid level tables, we don't have all that many 'all-combat' players. Don't get me wrong, a player might have an all-combat PC. But as a player he recognizes the value of non-combat solutions even if that particular PC does not.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

David Bowles wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I blame most of this on the scorn and ostracism people direct at anything that smells like "meta-gaming" e.g. talking OOC tactics. Another chunk of the blame results from the lack of an in-game rules for character vs character knowledge. Does my barbarian know you can cast Bull Strength and why he should Delay so you can cast it? Do I know your Swashbuckler or Gunslinger benefits from getting the npc kill and is it meta-game for me to Delay so that you can attack first?

One time, my party expected possible trouble in a building we had not yet entered. The druid turned into an earth elemental for the earth glide ability. The wizard made said druid invisible. Then my eldritch knight cast telepathy on the party. The druid then invisibly scouts the entire building while silently reporting everything to the party. She returns, and we put up some very specific buffs that dramatically affect the outcome of the encounter.

At a later date, I relayed this story to a table during post-game chatter about the effectiveness of preparation. The GM's response to the tale was to make a scoffing sound, roll his eyes, and say, "And people wonder why GMs get so fed up."

So yeah, I get your point about the anti-tactics culture that can crop up sometimes.

Why does the GM care? They didn't write the scenario. They are still getting their table credit.

How about if it makes the game less fun for the GM? Seriously, you prep a scenario or module, and you get a batch of PCs who turn everything, including the encounters that could have been interesting, into single dimensional NPC bashes. "Okay, you have +15 to Init, so you go first, then you do 16 points of damage to a 1st level NPC. Well, that was ... interesting ... wasn't it?"

On the other hand, Jiggy's story is about something that should be interesting for the actual GM involved, even if it reduces the final encounter difficulty, as it still involves the GM in the story. However, I could see a different GM not really understanding the story at a table, and thinking it would ruin his fun in such a game.


kinevon wrote:


How about if it makes the game less fun for the GM? Seriously, you prep a scenario or module, and you get a batch of PCs who turn everything, including the encounters that could have been interesting, into single dimensional NPC bashes. "Okay, you have +15 to Init, so you go first, then you do 16 points of damage to a 1st level NPC. Well, that was ... interesting ... wasn't it?"..

Just completed GMing an encounter in a subT 6-7. The PC's thrashed it. Given the tactics and they way I chose to let it unfold, the NPC's didn't really have much of a chance.

A player post that the highlight of the encounter for him was beating the demon's SR rolling a 2. He said,

Quote:
All those favored class picks in punching through the SR of outsiders paid off.

Sometimes thrashing an encounter makes players feel like they made the right build choices.

As a player who enjoys good tactical battles, I enjoy the occasional cake walk because my character is circumstantially effective. Since my highest typically plays without a Cleric, Druid, or Paladin, we don't usually breeze through scenarios. I've come to realize that when every BBEG seems on the verge of TPK'ing the group, I enjoy the game a lot less. Lethal BBEG's cause a lot of stress and angst in the other players. It seriously feels more like a chore than a game I enjoy to find an answer for every curve ball the game throws at us.

And here's the thing, I would love to play hard mode. But I don't want to play hard mode when only two of the six players at the table want to work that hard. When I'm in a group where players aren't always motivated to work together or play smart, then I don't want the scenario to think I'm playing with six min/maxers.

5/5

Jiggy, I was referring directly to the tack taken in the article. The stance implied is rigid, and bad tactics in itself. The Forge of Combat is a flawed concept, and regardless of how you feel about tactics discussion, starting from a bad footing (the article directly linked by the OP) gives you an uneven footing.

The concepts of the roles are inherently flawed, and gives you a bad place to work your characters strategy from. Honestly this article reminds me of some of the worst problems facing sucessfully teaching tactics in a real world situation as well as in Pathfinder.


ToshiroKurita wrote:

Jiggy, I was referring directly to the tack taken in the article. The stance implied is rigid, and bad tactics in itself. The Forge of Combat is a flawed concept, and regardless of how you feel about tactics discussion, starting from a bad footing (the article directly linked by the OP) gives you an uneven footing.

The concepts of the roles are inherently flawed, and gives you a bad place to work your characters strategy from. Honestly this article reminds me of some of the worst problems facing sucessfully teaching tactics in a real world situation as well as in Pathfinder.

Then please work on something better. I would never say this or anything else is perfect. But it is a hella-lot better than the nothing that my group had before I found it.

I am not the author and I have no emotional investment in the Forge of Combat. But it has helped many players that I personally know to do a better job of pulling their weight in the combat portions of the game. If you or someone else can come up with something else usable, I am more than willing to give it a go.*

* Note I said 'usable.' This last time I got involved in a discussion like this, the guy gave me the names of 5 or 6 multi-volume tactical text books. In the context of recreational hobbies, saying that someone has to spend the next several weeks on Master's level study in-order to play the game in an competent manner does not count as a 'usable' solution.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

Oh, and what were those text books?

Silver Crusade

kinevon wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I blame most of this on the scorn and ostracism people direct at anything that smells like "meta-gaming" e.g. talking OOC tactics. Another chunk of the blame results from the lack of an in-game rules for character vs character knowledge. Does my barbarian know you can cast Bull Strength and why he should Delay so you can cast it? Do I know your Swashbuckler or Gunslinger benefits from getting the npc kill and is it meta-game for me to Delay so that you can attack first?

One time, my party expected possible trouble in a building we had not yet entered. The druid turned into an earth elemental for the earth glide ability. The wizard made said druid invisible. Then my eldritch knight cast telepathy on the party. The druid then invisibly scouts the entire building while silently reporting everything to the party. She returns, and we put up some very specific buffs that dramatically affect the outcome of the encounter.

At a later date, I relayed this story to a table during post-game chatter about the effectiveness of preparation. The GM's response to the tale was to make a scoffing sound, roll his eyes, and say, "And people wonder why GMs get so fed up."

So yeah, I get your point about the anti-tactics culture that can crop up sometimes.

Why does the GM care? They didn't write the scenario. They are still getting their table credit.

How about if it makes the game less fun for the GM? Seriously, you prep a scenario or module, and you get a batch of PCs who turn everything, including the encounters that could have been interesting, into single dimensional NPC bashes. "Okay, you have +15 to Init, so you go first, then you do 16 points of damage to a 1st level NPC. Well, that was ... interesting ... wasn't it?"

On the other hand, Jiggy's story is about something that should be interesting for the actual GM involved, even if it reduces the final encounter difficulty, as it still involves the GM in the...

GM fun is irrelevant. The GM is not there for their own amusement. They are providing services for others. Services that they get the full in-game reward for.

Scenario prep? Seriously? GMs often don't even get tactical decisions; the authors provide them. I can't take anything personally or be emotionally invested when I am a glorified DVD player.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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David Bowles wrote:
GM fun is irrelevant. The GM is not there for their own amusement.

B#%*~+*@. I am not your servant, and I am not being paid to run your game.

If you treat GM fun as irrelevant, you will quickly have no GMs.

That being said, GM fun cannot come at player expense. It is the other side of the coin.


ToshiroKurita wrote:
The concepts of the roles are inherently flawed, and gives you a bad place to work your characters strategy from.

I can't speak for the article, but the concept of roles for how to approach this game is certainly not flawed. The very foundation of the game is built around functional roles. Understanding what those roles are is to understand how the game expects players to overcome the challenges.

Silver Crusade

I don't know what to tell you. PCs have no obligation to self-nerf or play the scenario the way the GM wants it to go. Fine then, how about GM fun is tertiary at best? Maybe even quaternary.

"If you treat GM fun as irrelevant, you will quickly have no GMs."

Demonstrably untrue in our area. We have many by-the-book GMs who approach it from a workman-like attitude.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

David Bowles wrote:
Fine then, how about GM fun is tertiary at best? Maybe even quaternary.

How about GM and player fun are equally important to a healthy table?

David Bowles wrote:
Demonstrably untrue in our area. We have many by-the-book GMs who approach it from a workman-like attitude.

Then those tables are fun to them. My statement still stands.

Silver Crusade

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Fine then, how about GM fun is tertiary at best? Maybe even quaternary.
How about GM and player fun are equally important to a healthy table?

I disagree. As a GM, I hate many scenarios right out of the box. I can't change that, its already written. As a GM, I hate many PC party compositions. Nothing can be done about that, either. There is no way to balance that out that I can see. GM, to me, is a volunteer job, not a way to have fun. Sometimes it is fun, sometimes it is Fluffy the Wonder Cat eating the entire scenario. Thems the breaks.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Alright, I see where you are coming from. I don't find that to make GM fun irrelevant.

Silver Crusade

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Fine then, how about GM fun is tertiary at best? Maybe even quaternary.

How about GM and player fun are equally important to a healthy table?

David Bowles wrote:
Demonstrably untrue in our area. We have many by-the-book GMs who approach it from a workman-like attitude.
Then those tables are fun to them. My statement still stands.

Not always. Many of our GMs suck it up and run for the power gamers in our area. They don't really enjoy running those games, I'm sure, but do it anyway.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

David Bowles wrote:
Not always. Many of our GMs suck it up and run for the power gamers in our area. They don't really enjoy running those games, I'm sure, but do it anyway.

That doesn't make GM fun irrelevant. If all they ran were those bad tables, they would quickly stop running, I am sure.

Silver Crusade

My definition of fun is slaughtering every animal companion with extreme prejudice. But often, the NPCs can't even hit them, even if I were inclined to unfairly target them. (Which I'm not) I pick up my hapless NPCs and just collect my chronicle sheet and go on in that case.

Silver Crusade

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Not always. Many of our GMs suck it up and run for the power gamers in our area. They don't really enjoy running those games, I'm sure, but do it anyway.
That doesn't make GM fun irrelevant. If all they ran were those bad tables, they would quickly stop running, I am sure.

All, yes. But it's not all. Just some. Enough to be an annoyance, but not enough to quit. My VL and I have the same philosophy on this: if the players make death machines that are in permanent slaughter mode, that's on them. Not us as GMs.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

David Bowles wrote:
By definition of fun is slaughtering every animal companion with extreme prejudice.

Not my definition.

Edit: Did you mean 'my' instead of 'by'? That caused some confusion.

Silver Crusade

See? We can't all get our fun as GMs. That's why I don't consider GMing as "fun time".

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

David Bowles wrote:
See? We can't all get our fun as GMs. That's why I don't consider GMing as "fun time".

Then I don't see why you continue to GM. But that's a topic for another thread.

Silver Crusade

The bottom line is the anti-tactics culture is borderline insane to me. I expect the players to make plans and execute said plans. In season 4+, I have presided over many, many PC deaths when they didn't have a plan. If the players are skilled enough to crush a given scenario, and in the process minimize their consumable use, then kudos to them. I don't see why a GM should care. Unless you really thought your NPCs were going to win. I expect the NPCs to get smoked every combat, and I am personally surprised when PCs die. Because most PFS fights are easy peasy.

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